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Archive for January, 2008

Global Warming – Businesses to Blame

I was reading the Independent on Sunday and the headlines read “Profits of Doom” – Big business shuns green policies.

Well, there you go, it must be official then. The assumption that this title makes is that there IS a problem with global warming THAT BIG BUSINESS COULD FIX… and that’s where I have an issue.

Here are my concerns. Firstly climate change – definitely – it’s happening (and as they say, it has happened before and it WILL happen again) – no doubt about that – global warming is another matter. Sitting here with my hands purple with cold in sunny Wark in February after some AWFULLY cold, snowy weather it’s hard to believe that global WARMING is real and if it is, BRING IT ON, I say. But that’s not the point.

The point is this… I’m not AT ALL convinced that we’re the cause of most of the climate changes OR that we have to repent in order to make things ok. This is another one of those politically correct things – one has to be GREEN, one has to have GREEN CREDENTIALS and if one doesn’t – one is BAD.

Ok, how about the argument that carbon dioxide change comes AFTER, not BEFORE climate change… the problem with looking at FACTS as against FANTASY is that facts put forward by large numbers of scientists get IGNORED because scientists by and large are seen to be BORING. The fact that 50% of the American population thinks we’ve only been here a few thousand years show how rivetting science is despite having cast-iron concrete proof that we’ve been around for millions of years – half the population of the supposed world-leader isn’t interested.

And so it seems to be with climate change – show a bunch of hurricanes, get someone with street-cred like Al Gore up on stage and we’re all convinced that if we just amend our ways, it’ll all come out in the wash. We must of course suffer to do this and big business must suffer the most – otherwise they are evil.

Well, I need convincing of the following:

Why is it that the carbon dioxide level changes appear to be the wrong way around.
Why is it that a good number of scientists are DEAD SET against the current arguments – these are experts in their fields – not newpaper reporters.
What earthly difference in percentage terms can anyone in Britain make – while the Chinese continue to expand and polute – not to mention America… if Britain went hell for leather into this what percentage would it make on WORLD scale… I’m guessing a virtually insignificant amount.

Maybe, just MAYBE some big businesses have done their math?

As for the ice-caps – well, I’m no expert on the subject but the russians a while ago were planning on putting some huge umbrella up – it failed and I can’t remember why they tried – but what’s wrong with shielding the polar regions from the sun? A very light, very large foil (or whatever) reflector in space would be feasable even if it ended up with the odd puncture hole due to meteorites. Expensive, yes, but feasable, definitely.

And then there is THIS…. Please, grab some coffee and watch THIS – at least one scientist thinks there is ANOTHER way. If you want to listen to Al Gore, he’s on TED.COM as well – quite funny with it too.


BBC – In Search of Truth

I don’t know how many of you watched the BBC program “Watchdog” the other night. It was my first and last time.

They were checking into “bugus psychics” and I could not believe my ears when I heard

“of course, there ARE genuine psychics out there”

Since WHEN? It seems I’m not the only one that spotted this because if you key the words into Google there are plenty other people out there who were equally taken aback.

And we’re supposed to take advice from the program? I don’t think so!

I don’t mind nonsense on TV in general – you can always turn it off or cancel your SKY subscription – but I really object when it’s on the BBC – we can’t exactly refuse to pay the licence now can we (for international readers, yes, we HAVE to pay a licence over here in the UK).

Life as we Know It – National Express Trains

It is often said of middle-aged people that they are “grumpy” – especially men. There is certainly an increased tendency to complain and an apparently unlimited number of things to complain about – but I was thinking about this….

With age comes confidence, experience and an increased desire for comfort. Is it any wonder then that given someone who is less intimidated by authority, has the experience to know when things have been better and who actually cares if their trip is comfortable or product actually works as advertised, that these people would be more likely to complain?

I can remember a time as a teen when I would stand in long queues to get into a nightclub. Why did I do that? Why would I stand in a long queue to get into a bar so I could have the privilage of spending my hard-earned money on booze? I guess thinking back, I didn’t know there was a better way and I had this crazy idea that getting drunk gave you more chances of meeting the opposite sex, therefore standing in queues in the freezing cold at 10.30pm was just the price you paid. Similarly I used to accept pretty awful service in shops before I’d travelled to the likes of the USA where staff are actually polite (whether they mean it or not is another matter, it’s the experience that counts). I don’t do any of that any more.

I’ve been on National Express trains twice now since they took over from GNER. The first time they screwed up the trip and put 2-train’s worth of customers onto one – the result, passengers who’d paid a fortune to sit in first class for a bit of comfort were standing neck-to-neck from London to Peterborough – in the height of the flu season – and I may add the company had just printed a load of leaflets to let you know how they were putting on extra trains to improve the service from the last lot. The second time they’d screwed up the seat bookings and so it became a mad scramble to get a seat with a table – first come, first served. It mattered not that you might have paid twice the cost of a cheap overseas holiday flight just for a train seat.

This kind of thing is simply not good enough. With air travel becoming more of a nightmare by the day, we’re all potential terrorists and so what used to be a quick hop-on, hop off now takes almost as long as taking the train – in some cases longer.

If a train or plane is late, you’ve no chance of compensation, but if YOU are late you have to pay FULL-RIPPING FAIR for another ticket. There’s something simply unfair about the one-sided nature of the deal.

Meanwhile the only real solution to transport woes is the car. The car doesn’t care if you’re a little late and it doesn’t mind doing a diversion if a road is closed. But thanks partly to global warming the car is now number one target for more taxation (actually that’s not true, businesses seem to be the number 1 target but I reckon it’s neck and neck).

Well, I intend to use my car MORE often and shout about it. I’m well aware of global warming but less aware of any real proof that we have anything to do with it – public transport is RUBBISH and that’s all there is to it. It’ll take a lifetime to develop a decent, comfortable, efficient public transport system if that’s even possible, meanwhile if there are any younger folk reading this blog – I beg you – if you suffer bad service, COMPLAIN, not to your friends but to the supplier of the service – and don’t just complain, push for a refund. Why on earth should you pay full rate for something that was no as advertised?

The sooner we stop accepting whatever is thrown at us, the sooner things will get better.

Cirque Du Soleil

Last night my wife and I went to see Cirque Du Soleil Varakai at the Theatre Royal in London.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is NOT what I do – I’m a fan of TV series and movies that cost countless millions in special effects, personally, however marriage is a compromise and so I went along willingly to see what I thoroughly expected to be a bunch of guys prancing around in coloured costumes and not doing too much.

To be fair, this was INDEED all about a bunch of guys prancing around in coloured costumes – but the finest colours I’ve seen for a long time and the acrobatics beat anything I’ve seen on TV without CGI. The whole atmosphere was GREAT, sadly I can’t show you any photos because they asked us very nicely not to. Fabulous imagination, fabulous sounds – great show.

All I CAN say is that if you want a great evening out, get your tickets now – very, VERY good.

And to feed my need for movies… keep an eye out for JUMPER – coming out somewhere in February. Trailers are here http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox/jumper/